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An amateur photographer friend will have his 60th birthday soon, so I was wondering if anyone has a poem about photography or photographers which I could read at the party. Also, I am going to take of a photo of a developing tray with his picture in it, labelled 'still developing', and on a developing tank put 'future development'. Any other ideas would be very welcome.
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A single photograph
—portrait of the moment—
is an inexhaustible epic,
a living tale beyond words
superior to a hundred volumes
written and fixed.
is consciousness painting,
the instant’s art that opens
on the unbounded vistas
of the inner life.
by Lewis Carroll
From his shoulder Hiawatha
Took the camera of rosewood,
Made of sliding, folding rosewood;
Neatly put it all together.
In its case it lay compactly,
Folded into nearly nothing;
But he opened out the hinges,
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges,
Till it looked all squares and oblongs,
Like a complicated figure
In the Second Book of Euclid.
This he perched upon a tripod -
Crouched beneath its dusky cover -
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence -
Said, "Be motionless, I beg you!"
Mystic, awful was the process.
All the family in order
Sat before him for their pictures:
Each in turn, as he was taken,
Volunteered his own suggestions,
His ingenious suggestions.
First the Governor, the Father:
He suggested velvet curtains
Looped about a massy pillar;
And the corner of a table,
Of a rosewood dining-table.
He would hold a scroll of something,
Hold it firmly in his left-hand;
He would keep his right-hand buried
(Like Napoleon) in his waistcoat;
He would contemplate the distance
With a look of pensive meaning,
As of ducks that die ill tempests.
Grand, heroic was the notion:
Yet the picture failed entirely:
Failed, because he moved a little,
Moved, because he couldn't help it.
Next, his better half took courage;
SHE would have her picture taken.
She came dressed beyond description,
Dressed in jewels and in satin
Far too gorgeous for an empress.
Gracefully she sat down sideways,
With a simper scarcely human,
Holding in her hand a bouquet
Rather larger than a cabbage.
All the while that she was sitting,
Still the lady chattered, chattered,
Like a monkey in the forest.
"Am I sitting still?" she asked him.
"Is my face enough in profile?
Shall I hold the bouquet higher?
Will it came into the picture?"
And the picture failed completely.
Next the Son, the Stunning-Cantab:
He suggested curves of beauty,
Curves pervading all his figure,
Which the eye might follow onward,
Till they centered in the breast-pin,
Centered in the golden breast-pin.
He had learnt it all from Ruskin
(Author of 'The Stones of Venice,'
'Seven Lamps of Architecture,'
'Modern Painters,' and some others);
And perhaps he had not fully
Understood his author's meaning;
But, whatever was the reason,
All was fruitless, as the picture
Ended in an utter failure.
Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little,
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty.'
Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.
Hiawatha, when she asked him,
Took no notice of the question,
Looked as if he hadn't heard it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.
Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.
So in turn the other sisters.
Last, the youngest son was taken:
Very rough and thick his hair was,
Very round and red his face was,
Very dusty was his jacket,
Very fidgety his manner.
And his overbearing sisters
Called him names he disapproved of:
Called him Johnny, 'Daddy's Darling,'
Called him Jacky, 'Scrubby School-boy.'
And, so awful was the picture,
In comparison the others
Seemed, to one's bewildered fancy,
To have partially succeeded.
Finally my Hiawatha
Tumbled all the tribe together,
('Grouped' is not the right expression),
And, as happy chance would have it
Did at last obtain a picture
Where the faces all succeeded:
Each came out a perfect likeness.
Then they joined and all abused it,
Unrestrainedly abused it,
As the worst and ugliest picture
They could possibly have dreamed of.
'Giving one such strange expressions -
Sullen, stupid, pert expressions.
Really any one would take us
(Any one that did not know us)
For the most unpleasant people!'
(Hiawatha seemed to think so,
Seemed to think it not unlikely).
All together rang their voices,
Angry, loud, discordant voices,
As of dogs that howl in concert,
As of cats that wail in chorus.
But my Hiawatha's patience,
His politeness and his patience,
Unaccountably had vanished,
And he left that happy party.
Neither did he leave them slowly,
With the calm deliberation,
The intense deliberation
Of a photographic artist:
But he left them in a hurry,
Left them in a mighty hurry,
Stating that he would not stand it,
Stating in emphatic language
What he'd be before he'd stand it.
Hurriedly he packed his boxes:
Hurriedly the porter trundled
On a barrow all his boxes:
Hurriedly he took his ticket:
Hurriedly the train received him:
Thus departed Hiawatha.
Just found this through Google.
by James Metcalfe ( I assume he's the person who submitted it to the poetry site)
A photograph is more than just
A gift to bring or send.
And more than just the likeness of
A relative or friend.
It is a kindly greeting and
A memory to hold.
Of happy times and pleasant things.
However new or old.
It is a mirror that reflects
Companionship and cheer.
And now and then the wistfulness
That turns into a tear.
A photograph is something to
Adorn a desk or wall.
Or carry in a pocket and
Display to one and all.
It is a faithful portrait
The smile that friendship shares
To add its sunshine and to show
That someone really cares.
or this Christmas theme one.
Twas the Night Before Black Friday - A Digital Photography Poem Karin Rex
‘Twas the night before Black Friday and all through the land,
consumers were worrying, longs lists in hand,
For their stockings were soon to be hung up with care
and they knew without shopping, those socks would be bare
With turkey in their tummies and holiday angst flowing,
they turned in for the night, quite fully knowing
that their loved ones were nestled all snug in their beds
with digital visions dancing in their heads.
When out like a light, a noisy dream came into focus.
(They never suspected any hocus-pocus).
Grabbing their cameras, they leapt out of bed
stumbling and sleepy, and rubbing their heads
They ran to the window and opened the sash,
maximized the aperture, and adjusted the flash.
And there in the viewfinder, what should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight-megapixel reindeer
With an oversized driver, as geeky as heck,
they knew in a moment it must be St. Tech.
More rapid than broadband, his reindeer they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Canon! Now Pentax!
Now, Olympus and HP!
On, Kodak! On Sony!
On, Nikon and Fuji!
To the top of the porch!
To the chimney wall!
Now click away! Click away!
Click away all!
As stressed-out shoppers that before the sale do fly,
when they meet with an obstacle and poke out an eye.
So up to the house-top the reindeer they flew
with a sleigh full of cameras and accessories too.
And then, in a twinkling, was heard on the roof
the prancing of each little pixilated hoof.
As they watched from the top of the stairs, mouths agape,
St. Tech appeared on the hearth with nary a scrape.
He was dressed all in halftones, from his shoes to his head
and his eyes were high contrast, as though infrared.
A gaggle of gadgets dropped into the room,
including the latest 10x optical zooms.
His devices how they sparkled! His cameras, how cherry!
His memory cards were enough to make anyone merry!
His ink cartridges were plentiful and easy to switch,
and his scanners hooked up with nary a glitch.
His batteries were lithium and long-lasting to boot,
and his tripods were ready for any still shoot.
His printers spewed pictures of the highest resolution,
And his smart Flash drives were the perfect gift solution.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
and completed their shopping lists, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger on a nearby present for a goof
he took a picture of his visit, so they’d have digital proof.
He uploaded to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and they all took off like an Patriot missile.
A rhyme left behind put it all in perspective.
Thank you Boyd and aftertherain for taking the time to respond - much appreciated.
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